My brother, Tom, has been an avid golfer for more than 50 years, but aside from the occasional new driver, he often goes a decade or longer without changing out his bag. So I was surprised when, a year ago, Tom called from Wisconsin to say that it was time for an upgrade. He was also looking for some advice. "There are so many clubs to choose from. How do I find the right ones for me?"
Great question. "The only way to make sure that you'll be investing in equipment that's best for your game," I told him, "is to go for a club fitting."
Tom had heard of custom fitting, but the who-what-where details of the fitting process remained a mystery. That came as no surprise. Recent proprietary research conducted by the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Golf Group shows that only 11% of the avid golfers who purchased equipment over the past 12 months were custom fitted on a launch monitor, and that one in four golfers are confused about the benefits of custom fitting. Of the 11% who were fit, however, an overwhelming 88% said custom fitting is a great value.
Fortunately, at the time Tom called, the SI Golf Group was on the verge of launching "See, Try, Buy," a simple yet industry-changing program that explains and streamlines the information-gathering, fitting and buying process. I walked Tom through it: See all the stories, pictures and reviews of the new equipment in our annual SIGolf+ Equipment Issue, or in Golf Magazine's ClubTest, but especially at GOLF.com. Try the various clubs—and while doing so discover which ones work best for you—during a one-hour custom fitting on a launch monitor at any one of the 143 GolfTEC stores in the U.S. (This year, in addition to GolfTEC, we're offering club fittings at all 76 Golfsmith locations.) Finally, Buy fitted clubs at GolfTEC, Golfsmith or online at shop.golf.com.
That's exactly what Tom did. He used our magazines and website to study up on the latest gear. He made an appointment at a GolfTEC store in the Milwaukee area and for $99 (half price!) was fitted by a PGA pro. Because GolfTEC is unbiased and uses all brands and models of clubs during fittings, Tom learned which ones worked best for him—and he bought them on the spot.
Today, a year and many rounds later, Tom has no regrets. That also came as no surprise.
JAMES P. HERRE
Managing Editor, SI Golf Group